Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday 13-- Autumn!

Thanks to all my readers for the kind and sympathetic thoughts on the last post. I was kinda bummed the other day, but I'm ok now. Despite the fact that I had a dream last night that my dad died. Again. Very strange. But it was just a dream. I honestly don't know where all of this is coming from. Maybe it's my brain's way of reminding me not to forget my dad. I dunno.

Alright, moving on. There's a saying here in South Carolina: We have four seasons -- almost summer, summer, still summer and Christmas. And this year, it's proving true! Thanks to this wonderful Indian Summer we are having, October is half over, and I am still wearing flip flops, jean skirts and tank tops. Contrast that to my home state, Virginia, where they are in the upper 70s (still warm, but certainly not hot) and Indiana (where my family lived for several years), where fall is already well under way--mid-60s. In high school and college, I expected to be seeing snow on the ground by Halloween. SC is proving to be sliiiightly different!

We haven't really dropped below the mid-80s yet. I never thought I'd say this, because I love summer almost as much as candy, but I'm SO ready for some nice fall weather! These are all the things I LOVE about slightly cooler weather. Hopefully I can enjoy some of them before it turns back into spring again!

1. Soup!! My favorites include Campbell's Bean n Bacon and/or Beef Vegetable. Potato and tomato are also good. My mom's chili is awesome. I am also in love with Quizno's Broccoli n Cheese, because they put it in a bread bowl, along with pieces of grilled chicken. Mmmmmmm!! I am also really craving my grandmother's French Beef Stew, so when I make that, I'll post the recipe. Right now, it's just too dang hot for soup!

2. Turtlenecks, jackets, sweaters, coats and boots. I like fall/winter clothes so much better than summer clothes. I don't know why, but I feel I look more presentable in the cooler months. My all-cotton summer wardrobe is so....schlumpy.

3. Two words: Egg Nog. Holy Cow, I cannot express to you in the English language how much I love this holiday drink. Sans alcohol, obviously. Not really the healthiest thing you can put in your body, but man-oh-man, I squeal like a little kid when I drink some. My favorite is the Southern Comfort brand's Vanilla Spice. It tastes like a milkshake--seriously, it's the best. I bought some today, actually, only because I was SO excited to see that they are selling it so early in the season. I would also like to add that my love of all things nog also includes ice creams, coffees, milkshakes, cheesecakes and anything where egg nog is an ingredient or flavor.

4. I don't need any excuse to make Pumpkin Bread or pumpkin pie or baked items in general. If it's got cinnamon or pumpkin in it, this is the time of year where people really want to snuggle up with some coffee, tea or (in my case) egg nog and something yummy and baked. Keep your eyes peeled over on my cooking blog for yummy recipes. I think I've already posted the Pumpkin Bread recipe, but I'm too lazy to look right now. I'm going to try out something this year that has a pumpkin-chocolate combo, because it sounds interesting to me.

5. I used to say "the leaves" because when I lived in Indiana, I got to witness some of the most beautiful fall leaves you've ever seen. The town where I went to college, Bloomington, is really known for it. I would give anything to see and smell the beautiful foliage right now. Unfortunately, we have few maple trees here. Lots of pine trees and crepe myrtles instead. Not the best for fall foliage, you know? And at the rate we're going, they won't be changing colors anytime soon. Anyway, here are some pics to show you what I'm missing. Indiana's campus in the fall:

6. That nip in the air. Not the kind of cold where you feel cold, but the kind that just wakes you up. Enough of a chill that you need a jacket or a coat, but not enough that you need a hat and gloves. The pre-snow-and-ice chill. Also known as the pre-wool-but-more-than-a-long-sleeved-tshirt cool. Aaaaaah! What a nice break from the sticky, humid, 2-showers-a-day heat that is July and August here.

7. Warm fluffy blankets, whether it's on the couch (with a good book and something yummy and baked) or on your lap at a football game. Preferably with a significant other sitting next to you.

8. Speaking of football games, I love love love wearing college sweatshirts when it's cold! That and flannel pjs at night. (Can you tell I dislike being cold?) I flirt with the concept of slippers and thick socks, but I dislike it when my feet get hot. So those are reserved for moments when I'm totally freezing my ass off.

9. I forgot my other favorite cold weather drink: hot cocoa!!! Mmmm!! I always make mine with milk and try to have marshmallows around, too. Whoever invented this concept was a total genius. And now, you can get it in so many yummy flavors--caramel, mint, Butterfinger.... Have you tried the individual packets of hot cocoa mix put out by Land o Lakes? yummers.

10. Basketball season AND football season!!! I did go to Indiana for undergrad and South Carolina for grad school. So I am a pretty big college sports fan. November is especially great, because both sports are playing at the same time! Total bliss!

11. Fuji and Granny Smith apples are in season. I love to snack on apples, and the rest of the year, they just aren't as good.

12. Lower heating/cooling bills!!! Too late for A/C, too early for heat! Yesssssss!!!

13. This might just be my imagination, but I swear my hair looks better in the fall/winter months.

14. Ok, I just thought of another. Halloween. Because it's my favorite holiday!!! It involves dressing up and lots of candy. That's pretty much my ideal celebration.

Did I miss anything? What do you like about the fall? (I am trying not to get into Christmas/Thanksgiving TOO much just yet. It's still hot! I'll post about the holidays later!)


GrewUpRural said...

I love the fall. It's my favorite season. I love the smell of wood stoves burning and the cool crisp night air.

I also have to agree about the sports. You can also add the World Series into that mix also.

Meghan (The Declaration of MY Independence) said...

Still wearing flip flops and jean skirts?!?! Lucky girl! Up here its still in the mid to upper 70's but last week it was freaking cold! As I am typing this, I have on a turtleneck....haha. Jealous? Didnt think so.

And I love the escape of not having ANY heat or air conditioning on. Right now the thermastat is set at OFF and thats how it will stay for awhile!

Beautiful campus by the way, but still not as great as my alma mater...hehe.

I'll be sure to look at the other blog for the recepies!

Phantom Hater said...

This post really makes me miss Indiana. I was actually thinking of taking a few days off work and just going on a photo road-trip to see the fall foliage changes further north and maybe visit some friends along the way. I'm definitely ready for some cooler weather. The leaves have two colors--brown and brownish-green (breen).

Definitely post some recipes. I am cooking dinner for a weekly friend-thing next week and would like to make something different and 'fallish'.

Jen said...

I, too, love the fall because I prefer non-summer clothing. I'm super pale, so even when it's 100 degrees outside, I refuse to wear shorts of any kind. So in the fall, I can wear jeans and not have a heat stroke. That's definitely a good thing. :) Not to mention the fact that my office is always freeeeeezing...and I tend to dress according to the indoor temp here rather than the outdoor temp. So it's nice to be able to wear turtlenecks and not look like an idiot when I leave work for lunch.

I also love the fact that the heat isn't killing my grass anymore. And I can get outside and work in my yard without feeling like I'm going to pass out. :)

lenfercestlesautres said...

You're just spoiled! I would give anything for a summer. I would never miss cold temperatures.

Megan said...

I love fall! I had to turn my heat on this week because it was freakin cold...30 degrees this morning, but the days are 60ish.

Virginia Belle said...

grew up rural -- ooh, that reminds me--i do like bonfires....and i didn't put world series on the list because i'm not a baseball fan. :)

meghan -- am i jealous??? but of course!!! i know you are jealous too, since you weren't lucky enough to go to Indiana. but it's ok. i have had many friends who didn't and they are all very nice people, despite the fact. :P

PH-- when did you go to indiana??? and yes, all of our leaves are JUST starting to turn breen. that's exactly the color we will get this year, unfortunately. :( i'll post some new recipes soon. i think i have my lasagna recipe on there....that's kinda fallish.

jen-- i am also a pale-skinned shorts hater, so i'm definitely with ya there! bring on the jeans weather!!

len -- i know, i thought i'd never say this!!! but we are seriously having the Neverending Summer here, and it's hard to get excited for Christmas if it's still hot. :(

megan-- see?? that's what i want!! argh. i am green with envy.

Coco said...

Halloween is my favorite holiday too! People usually look at me weird when I say that.

Phantom Hater said...

I was born in Indiana, and I still have family there. I haven't been back in a while.

teahouse said...

I love this season as well!! I love hot apple cider, and hot chocolate with whipped cream, and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

* meish * said...

I LOVE fall. Except for that short time in fall in so Cal where we get hot Santa Ana winds and the wildfire smoky air ain't helping either...